Open source

Radiant is a great CMS

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I just wanted to pass on the meme on a great RoR-based CMS - Radiant. It is OSS, very stable, fairly actively developed and has a really good plugin system.

While searching for a RoR-based CMS I looked at it a few others:
Mephisto

  • Development has dried up due to the developers not having the time to continue it.
  • No support for snippets (see below).

RailFrog

  • Development seems to have dried up, the last messages on the blog were from 2006 and talked about a complete rewrite, which is usually a bad sign IMHO.

Some of the benefits that got me hooked on Radiant include:

  • snippets (keep your content DRY),
  • separate layouts vs content,
  • layouts support custom mimetypes (ensure your RSS feeds get the right content type),
  • the ability to structure the pages in a heirarchy,
  • a set of custom tags for manipulating the content,
  • built-in support for textile.
  • Some existing plugins that make life evey easier, specifically Google Analytics and Virtual Domains (multiple sites from one install!).

The few limitations I see are:

  • the plugin system needs to be improved to make extending the pages list easier,
  • the blog-like functionality needs improving,
  • some of the documentation needs work.

I've already used it on one site and am working to move all of our more static sites over to it - the less static ones will have to wait until I write a few plugins.

phpBB3 is almost here

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phpBB, the open-source PHP forum application that seems to be responsible for more server security breaches than anything else, has hit a major milestone with the first release candidate of the forthcoming v3.0 release. In the v3 new features / improvements list it is good to see that security is highlighted as a core aspect of the improved version, so here's hoping it can get back its history as a running joke with web developers.

Apache commercial support

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Many corporations require that all software used have a commercial support structure available to cope with worst-case scenarios. Typically many open-source applications in use today don't have support available from the core development team, and the ubiquitous Apache HTTPd web server is no different. To the rescue is the company Covalent who can provide not only support for several of the Apache products but also make a customized bundle available of Apache HTTPd, Tomcat and several other applications. Obviously this support is not going to be free, but if you need it they're worth giving at try.

Goldberg - turn-key user auth & CMS for Rails

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One of Rails' most commonly mentioned faults is the lack of a turn-key user authentication & content management system as part of the standard install. While a good point, there are a number of open-source projects that have stepped up to the plate to fill this gap. After looking around for some time I've found one which I suspect I'll be using often: Goldberg. Though not the most feature rich, Goldberg does the basics well - user authentication, user access controls, a basic CMS for handling static pages, which is all wrapped up in an easily extensible structure. Well worth trying out.

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